The Elgin Marble Controversy Term Paper by scribbler

The Elgin Marble Controversy
A review of the controversy surrounding Lord Thomas Elgin's removal of ancient sculpture pieces from Athens to the British Museum.
# 152825 | 1,334 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2013 | US
Published on Apr 30, 2013 in Art (Sculpture) , Art (Museums)

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The paper explains that the Elgin Marble controversy concerns the removal of ancient sculpture pieces from Athens, the capital city of Greece, by Lord Thomas Elgin. The paper considers the arguments for the Elgin Marbles being returned to Athens, as well as the arguments for the Elgin Marbles being allowed to stay in the British Museum, and shows how there are strong arguments for both positions. The paper concludes that it is unlikely that a resolution to this difficult issue will be achieved soon.

From the Paper:

"The Elgin Marble controversy concerns the removal of ancient sculpture pieces from Athens, the capital city of Greece by Lord Thomas Elgin. Particularly important among this collection was fifth-century BC sculpture from the Parthenon on the Acropolis hill in the center of Athens. These included about half the sculpted frieze that ran around the building, and 17 life-sized marble figures (Beard). These soon became known as the Elgin Marbles.
"Even at this time, Elgin brought about a large amount of controversy surrounding the issue. Poets of the time either praised or defamed Elgin for bringing the sculptures to the United Kingdom. At the basis of the controversy was the question of world art, and to whom it can be said to belong. The issues is however not entirely simple, as Beard indeed mentions; there are many additional factors that complicate the issue.
"Questions surrounding ownership of the pieces are complicated by the mists of history that conceal Elgin's actions and motives at the time. The legal nature of Elgin's action is not clear. While he did obtain Turkish permission to work on the Acropolis, the Italian translation of his contract is far from clear regarding the terms of the agreement. Elgin's motives are even further from clear. He may have been an aristocrat, taking the sculpture for no better reason than decorating his ancestral pile, while it is also possible that he was truly concerned about the fate of the priceless pieces of history."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Anderson, Robert. The Elgin Marbles are staying put in London. The Times, 2002.
  • Beard, Mary. Lord Elgin - Saviour or Vandal? BBC Ancient History, 2009.
  • The Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles. The Case for the Return. 2002.

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APA Format

The Elgin Marble Controversy (2013, April 30) Retrieved December 09, 2022, from

MLA Format

"The Elgin Marble Controversy" 30 April 2013. Web. 09 December. 2022. <>